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United Parcel Service: Things That Might Surprise You

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.

All about UPS

All about UPS

United Parcel Services, also known as UPS, is a worldwide delivery and shipping company. It is the world’s largest package delivery service that had a humble beginning. It started out with a $100 loan for a small messenger service.

Today, UPS delivers packages to more than 220 nations and territories around the world with the help of 495,000 employees. The delivery service goes worldwide across roads, rails, air, and ocean.

About UPS

The service began in Seattle, Washington, on August 28, 1907, but it was not called United Parcel Service at that time. The small service was called The American Messenger Company and focused mostly on package delivery to retail stores and not to individuals.

Deliveries were made at that time on foot for short trips. Bicycles and motorcycles were used for longer trips until 1913, when the Model T Ford became the first delivery vehicle.

In 1919, the company began delivering packages outside of Seattle to Oakland, California. It was then that it changed its name to United Parcel Service. At first, deliveries were made only to a small area around Los Angeles. By 1927, UPS delivered to areas up to 125 miles away.

Today, 113 years later, UPS headquarters are in Sandy Springs, Georgia. The company is responsible for delivering packages and documents worldwide. It is a $71.861 billion-a-year business.

Why Brown Vehicles and Brown Uniforms

All UPS vehicles are brown, and so are the uniforms that all the employees wear. Initially, the many vehicles were painted different colors so the public would see that they had a fleet rather than just one vehicle. That didn't last long. In 1916, brown was the only color used by the delivery service. That color was chosen to be similar to the Pullman rail cars and because brown reflects class, elegance, and professionalism. Besides, dirt is less visible on brown vehicles and uniforms.

The delivery service was so delighted with brown being their color that it incorporated it into their slogan, “What can brown do for you?” UPS retired that slogan, and it is no longer used.

In 1998, United Parcel Service registered brown trademarks as its signature color to keep other delivery services from it as their color.

Package Cars, Not Trucks

UPS does not refer to their vehicles as trucks. The company prefers them to be called package cars because packages are what UPS delivers.

Package cars do not have radios. Therefore, drivers are allowed to have their own radios or music devices.


Reason Drivers Keep the Doors Open

It is not unusual to see drivers with the doors of the package cars open while they drive during the summer months because there is no air conditioning. According to NBC News, UPS drivers have recorded temperatures in the truck as high as 152 degrees.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, trucks aren't air-conditioned because the average UPS delivery person opens the doors up to 130 times a day. Therefore, it makes sense for the package cars not to have air conditioning.

No Left Turns Allowed and No Backing Up

UPS has discovered that idling time results when drivers make left turns and when they drive against the movement of traffic. Therefore, drivers are only allowed to turn right to get to their destinations, even if they have to go around the block.

Most of their routes are designed for the package cars to avoid left turns. UPS believes that helps save at least 100 gallons of fuel and reduces carbon emissions by 100,000 metric tons.

UPS drivers are also not allowed to back up. Reverse driving is discouraged as a precautionary measure to prevent the driver from hitting something or someone.

Sensors Used to Track Drivers

UPS drivers always have to work on a tight schedule. So, don't feel bad if they do not linger to chat with you when they deliver your package.

To ensure the fastest deliveries, UPS equips its package cars with sensors that track every movement a driver makes, not to check on the drivers but to see where more time can be saved.

A Delivery Information Acquisition Device (DIAD) tracks drivers' every move. Drivers are watched as they make about 200 stops a day. The device monitors how hard or soft the door is opened, how they apply brakes and how polite they are with their customers.

Sensors have shown the company that by using a key to open doors was taking up time. Therefore, keys were replaced with push-button key fobs.

Did you know there are facial hair codes for UPS workers?

Did you know there are facial hair codes for UPS workers?

Mustaches Allowed, But No Beards

All drivers must look professional while delivering packages and documents to customers. Drivers are allowed to have mustaches if they are not below the corners of the mouth, but beards are not allowed at all. Men's hair must not touch the top of their collar.

Special Way to Carry Packages

Drivers are trained on how to handle and carry packages that could weigh up to 70 pounds. When the drivers want to remove the goods from the truck, they are instructed to always put the package down before stepping to the ground, and they should also make sure they use the truck’s sturdy handrail. Packages should be carried above their belts, as seen in the above photo.

UPS truck drivers earn about $30 an hour.

UPS truck drivers earn about $30 an hour.

Good Salary, Gifts, and Tips

UPS driver earns about $30 per hour. Longtime drivers could earn more than $75,000 per year. Other than their regular pay, they are rewarded with gifts from a catalog for not having accidents over a certain period. The gifts from the catalog range from smaller ones up to more expensive ones such as golf clubs.

Drivers are allowed to accept tips. It is between the driver and the customer what tips are given. Some drivers would get up to $50 cash in tips in a single day and even more during the holidays. Other than tips in the form of cash, drivers are also given non-monetary tips such as food and drinks, including wine.

Senior Drivers Can Choose Their Own Routes

Senior drivers are allowed to choose their own routes. The best routes are those that cover lots of grounds with very few stops.

Some shifts could last up to 12 hours. Almost all routes include a lot of walking. Delivery persons can even walk more than five miles during their shift.

UPS By the Numbers

Here are additional numbers about UPS that are not included in the above information.

  • 11.5 million pick-up and delivery customers
  • 5.5 billion packages delivered per year
  • More than 10,300 alternative fuel and advanced tech vehicles
  • More than 220 nations and territories served
  • About 120 packages are delivered by each driver per day.
  • About 125,000 package cars, vans, tractors, and motorcycles
  • More than 1,800 operating facilities

Inspiration for This Article

The writer was inspired to write this article because she was a letter carrier and found the rules for the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the United Parcel Service (UPS) are quite different.

She receives many packages through UPS and has noticed the driving pattern in her neighborhood. She discovered some interesting things about the delivery service on the UPS website and in the article,18 Secrets of UPS Drivers.


cannabudpost on September 12, 2020:


Binoy from Delhi on September 11, 2020:

Interesting facts about the United Parcel Services. Very informative article.

Thanks for sharing